SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - For some, the festive traditions this time of year are full of grief triggers. Christmas doesn't always have to be blue when you're coping with the loss of a loved one.
Johnette Waterman, who works as a licensed clinical social worker, is no stranger to grief.
On Tuesday morning, she explained to a group at Brookdale Assisted Living in Shreveport that it is OK to cry.
"When there's a loss of a family member, there's an emptiness that has to be looked at."
Having lost her father more than 40 years ago, Waterman said her role now is to help others through the grieving process.
"The stages are very normal. Stages of grief — as far as Elizabeth Kubler Ross [said there] — is denial, then anger, bargaining, then also depression, which some people think that's what grief is. But it's more of an entire model. And then acceptance, coming to realize that life goes on even without our loss."
No matter when the loss happened, the happy memories of our friends and loved ones don't disappear.
"Memories can be a source of comfort," Waterman said. "Share those stories, share the pictures, share the memories. No one can take those away from you."
Different ways of meditating, such as prayer, and journaling can help people during the grief cycle, she said.
Talking with other people and setting goals for the new year also can help, Waterman added.
"Maybe a new tradition, maybe a different group of people, maybe want to go on a trip.
"So there's all sorts of different ways, and there's no right or wrong way to do it.
"If we love — which we are all here to connect — if we love others, then we are going to lose people," Waterman said. "And we're going to need to deal with that. And that's what life's about — finding a way to go on."